"Mere vaporing and boasting become a nation as little as a man. But honest, outspoken pride and faith in our country are infinitely better and more to be respected than the cultivated reserve which sets it down as ill-bred and in bad taste ever to refer to our country except by way of deprication, criticism, or general negation. We have a right to be proud of our vast material success, our national power and dignity, our advancing civilization, carrying freedom and education in its train. But to count our wealth and tell our numbers and rehearse our great deeds simply to boast of them is useless enough. We have a right to do it only when we listen to the solemn undertone which brings the message of great responsibilities — responsibilities far greater than the ordinary political and financial issues, which are sure to find, sooner or later, a right settlement." - Henry Cabot Lodge, Americanism
Happy 4th of July! My deep, dark secret is that I think this is a truly great country based on profound ideals. This nation has, dare I say it, effected positive change in a thousand different quarters, and it can be a very real force for good. If you bring up these ideas in front of most people they practically fall over themselves to remind you about all the ugly and tragic things connected to this country. I am fully, painfully, aware of the darkness- thank you very much- but I refuse to submit entirely to those who would do nothing but disdain.
The ideals of this country allow me, a young, unmarried woman, to be more than the chattel of my father or my husband, to study where and what I want and as much as I choose, to earn my own living based on my own merits, to choose my religion (or lack thereof), my philosophies, and opinions, and to talk about them as little or as much as I like, to read and write and think freely, to associate with anyone and everyone, and finally, to vote with reasonable assurance (don't start with me!) that my ballot will be counted.
You may argue that these rights are available in many places around the globe, but my point is that this was not always the case. The United States is responsible for assisting in the propagation of these ideas, and I think that cannot be other than a very good thing. Therefore, happy 4th of July; long live the republic! Down with the monkey's butt!